Glicentin (GLIC) and oxyntomodulin (OXM or GLIC 33-69) are gut hormones which regulate digestion. They are known to reduce digestive secretions and to delay gastric emptying. Their biological activities on intestinal motility are still unknown. The effect of a systemic GLIC or OXM increase was investigated in rats on the food intake, the postprandial myoelectrical activity of small intestine and the orocaecal transit. An OXM or GLIC i.v. infusion was applied during the 5 min preceding food onset and during the first 15 min of food intake. This determined a three- to fourfold increase of the preprandial OXM-GLIC level. The OXM or GLIC plasma increase did not modify food intake. OXM infusion slowed down gastric emptying when the stomach contained 3/4 of the ingested food (before T 3 h). The quantity of food delivered in jejunum was subsequently smaller (P < 0.05). In the small intestine, the duration of postprandial myoelectrical activity (50-60 min g(-1) of ingested food) was reduced by 70% (P < 0.001) on duodenum or jejunum and by 54% (P < 0.01) on ileum in OXM-treated rats. An interdigestive motility profile was settled and an acceleration of both gastric emptying and transit rate was thereafter evidenced (after T 3 h). GLIC also reduced the duration of the postprandial myoelectrical activity on duodenum and jejunum (65 and 63% respectively, P < 0.05), but was not as efficient as OXM on ileum. In pathological states such as acute adult gastroenteritis, OXM and GLIC exhibit a two- to fivefold increase in their plasma concentrations. The present findings suggest that OXM and GLIC could, in that disease, contribute to exclude pathogens, due to their joined action on gut motility.